A split between Thornspawn and Maledictvs is actually a split featuring two sides of the creative duo of Blackthorn (drums, guitars) and Hella (bass). One major difference however is that in Thornspawn, Blackthorn takes care of the vocals while Hella handles vocal duties in Maledictvs. The two bands’ joint effort bearing the title of ‘Guided by Vengeance & Bloodlust’ was initially spawned forth on tape by Inhuman Assault Productions, but is now also released on CD by Werewolf Records.
Thornspawn hasn’t been very a active band in recent years, with their last release being a split with Istidraj in 2013. Depending on the release type, there are either two or four tracks on the Thornspawn side of ‘Guided by Vengeance & Bloodlust’, but as we are dealing with the CD release on Werewolf here, let’s consider their contribution to consist of four tracks. Out of these, three tracks appear to be new, and one live rendition of ‘Empress from the Realms of Blasphemy’ is included. Musically, not much has changed since the last album by them that I thoroughly dived into, ‘Wrath of War’. The band still plays that raging blend of Ross Bay Cult violence which leans more strongly towards Black Metal than most other bands in that style. While that lands the band quite a unique spot, they’ve always fallen a little bit in between two worlds. I don’t think this split will change anything about that, but it’s not for lack of strong material. The band knows their craft and their sound, sticks to it, and managed to record three cracking tracks for this split. Nothing groundbreaking, but that was never their intention in the first place.
Moving on to the four tracks on the Maledictvs side, it’s clear that musically both bands are quite alike. Maledictvs plays that same sort of blistering Black Metal that has a distinct Hellhammer etc sound to it. The biggest difference with Thornspawn is an even more Black Metal oriented approach, in part through the higher pitch vocals of Hella, but also the more straightforward musical formula. This is especially noticeable in track ‘Incarnate of Tyrants’, a song that only appears on the CD version (together with a Hellhammer cover). As with Thornspawn, Maledictvs is quite effective at invoking their fury, and needless to say, both bands fit well together. I probably tend to slightly prefer the Maledictvs side of the split, if only for the great addition of atmospheric Gregorian chants and keyboards in ‘Father Satan’.
With the release of this split, as well as the Saram compilation, Werewolf Records has been looking beyond the Finnish Black Metal that so typifies the label. While there’s nothing wrong with that and ‘Guided by Vengeance & Bloodlust’ is certainly enjoyable, I personally prefer to hear more discoveries from the Finnish scene.